Diamond back boosts munition's range

Released: 21 Sep 2000

by Rex Swenson
Air Force Research Laboratory Public Affairs

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFPN) -- Air Force Research Laboratory Munitions Directorate officials, in conjunction with Alenia Marconi Systems and Boeing, conducted a modified Joint Direct Attack Munition cross-range flight test recently at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

Known as the JDAM-ER, for extended range, the weapon uses a strap-on wing device called "Diamond Back."

According to 2nd Lt. John Mehrman, JDAM-ER program manager, the Diamond Back is a low cost, high-performance wing kit, which features a joined tandem wing design. The wings extend from a compact storage position and, once they are fully deployed, form a diamond-shape.

Mehrman said the weapon was launched from an F-16 Fighting Falcon at 21,000 feet, going .78 Mach. Within 4 seconds, the wings deployed and it began gliding down range on its own.

After flying 11 nautical miles down range -- and 4 nautical miles cross range -- the JDAM-ER hit within lethal distance of its target at a specified Global Positioning System coordinate, according to Mehrman.

"Diamond Back increases the JDAM's range from eight to approximately 24 miles, when launched at 20,000 feet," Mehrman said. "This not only extends the weapon's range, but also helps protect our warfighters by providing additional survivability for the delivery aircraft. It also allows multiple, widely separated targets to be attacked from a single release point." (Courtesy of Air Force Material Command News Service)